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HelicopterAerial Photography and Video › DJI Phantom flying over L.A. Staples Center
06-17-2014 09:03 PM  3 years agoPost 1
Dakine

rrElite Veteran

OC, Commifornia

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Fking moron to the aerial community:

A 3-pound drone hovering above celebrating Los Angeles Kings fans outside Staples Center on Friday until it was knocked out of the sky with a T-shirt did not belong to the Los Angeles Police Department, a spokesman said Monday.

So far, nobody has claimed the white “Phantom” device, which was taken into LAPD custody as “found property.” Some Internet reports over the weekend suggested the drone belonged to the LAPD.

“It is not the LAPD’s drone,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. “When it flew over me, it looked like it had a camera on the bottom.”

A Los Angeles News Group photographer took photos of the drone, and videos posted on Facebook and YouTube showed fans chanting “We want the drone” and throwing shoes, clothes and water bottles at it until it fell to the ground. Someone then smashed it with a skateboard.

The LAPD, which refers to drones as an “Unmanned Aerial System,” recently acquired two Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Seattle Police Department, which quickly gave them away after a public outcry over the new technology. The 3-foot-wide devices have cameras and night-vision capabilities and are much larger than the one hovering outside Staples Center.

Smith said the devices are “in the possession of a federal agency” until the city and Police Commission supports the Police Department using them and until the LAPD determines how they would be utilized. Smith said it’s possible they could be used for hostage or barricade situations.

“It’s a lot safer for our officer to fly a drone and look in windows and look through property as opposed to sending an officer there or to fly overhead,” he said.

Small drones, which operate like remote-controlled model aircraft, also have recently drawn interest from news organizations as a way to gather video. Whoever flew the drone Friday night committed no crime, Smith said.

Legally, anyone can fly an unmanned aerial vehicle for recreational purposes under 50 feet. The devices cannot be used for commercial reasons, however. Smith called it “not a smart thing to fly it over a crowd like that” and suggested it could pose a safety concern.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, said no FAA authorization is needed to operate a model aircraft, “but it must be operated safely and not pose a hazard to people or property on the ground.”

“People must have FAA authorization to operate an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes,” Gregor said. “An authorized commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval from the FAA. To date, two operations in the Arctic have met these criteria.”

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